Interviewing style & accusatory questions

By Don Rabon

Inside the Interview

In the ACFE's "Interviewing for Auditors" course, which I teach, participants are given an opportunity to identify their problem areas in the interview process and have a chance to focus on the knowledge they'd like to receive from the course. Below are submissions from two participants and my responses. The issues they've identified aren't peculiar to the audit-related interview but rather involve criteria for the majority of interviews.

"My greatest challenge is learning to adapt my interviewing style for different interviewees. Also, how to soften my style so that I do not sound like I am just firing off questions."

Of course, every person we interview is unique, but all subjects have certain things in common so you can conduct the interview with certain principles in mind. Let the individual guide you through the interview. Ask her questions and use communication devices that encourage the individual to talk. Use open questions (what, how, why, could or would) that will encourage the person to respond and then you'll have a greater opportunity to get a "read" on her verbal, vocal, and non-verbal behavior. Now you can begin to actually discover who this person is and respond to her accordingly. Your demeanor, vocabulary, and presentation will differ between an interview with an upper manager or a laborer on the docks. However, both are entitled to professional and courteous consideration no matter what they might have done.

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